Thursday, November 20, 2014

Discussion Post - Book Polygamy

If you are my friend on Goodread you may have noticed that I usually read multiple books at once. It's always been my style, even as a kid. I remember being in 6th grade and having to keep a reading journal that outlined how much we read every day. My teacher would marvel at the fact that I was able to understand what was happening in the multiple books I was reading. Back then I think it was because I had book ADD, I couldn't focus on more than one book at a time. It was also a competitive thing. The reading journal was part of a class-wide contest and I wanted to beat my friend. I decided that if I read multiple books I could read more on a given day. Not entirely sure if that's true but I was eleven so having fuzzy logic is acceptable. 

Today however it seems to be about convenience. Awhile ago in a Top Ten Tuesday Post I mentioned how I'm not very nice to my books. I tend to write on them, spill on them, get crumbs in their spine, toss them around so they get ripped and wet. I know, I know, but before you harass me I'm getting better. I've been trying to not read physical copies of books when I commute to prevent this from happening but that means I need e-books and audiobooks for travel reasons. On a given week I will read one physical book at home, one e-book for commuting, and one audiobook for while I'm at work or driving. Then on the weekend I may put them all on hold to binge a different book.

But then I realized last week that I was only reading one book. It was a weird feeling for me but I kind of liked being able to give one book my undivided attention. There do seem to be some flaws to reading multiple books at once.

1.) One Book is Always Better or More Enjoyable
Not all books are created equal. Whether it is personal taste or what you're enjoying at the time, one book will always take precedence. When you're a book polygamist it's hard not to play favorites. It's all a balancing act and often the scale will tip more in the direction of the book you are liking better. And because of this...

2.) It Takes Longer to Finish the Book.
I mean this is just common sense, right? If you are splitting your time between books then it is clearly going to take longer to finish that book. But it's more than that especially if you are playing favorites. It's sometimes taken me weeks to get through an e-book because I would rather read the physical book or vice versa. On average I read 2-3 books a week but when reading multiple books...

3.) You Finish Them in Groups
I can go entire stretches where I haven't finished a single book and then all of a sudden in a single day I finish two or three. That sounds like a good thing but when you are reviewing books it seems better to finish them on a regular basis. I usually finish the month with a list of books to review and no more days to review them. Having a backlog of reviews can be even more problematic because there have been times that I can't post a review because I'm not done with anything (like right now). And as far as blogging goes content is king!

But my book monogamy was short-lived. The very next day after marveling at reading only one book, I finished that book and I started three new ones. Because there are a lot of benefits to book polygamy.

1.) It Helps Me Decide If I'll DNF A Book
Yes, not all books are created equal, some of them just don't work for you. It's not them, it's you. When I'm only reading one book, I will force myself to push through so I can get to the next one. Then it will take forever because I'm not enjoying it. This is the other side of the coin when it comes to playing favorites. I can better see if I am enjoying a book. My policy on DNFs is put it down for a few days and if I want to pick it back up great, if not DNF. Reading multiple helps me do that. And I'm not faced with the dreaded "what now?" because...

2.) You Always Know What to Read Next & Always Have Something to Read
When I started book polygamy I was never at a loss for the next book to read. When I was only reading one book at a time there was always that question. And having different books in different formats definitely helps with that. I can easily switch from one e-book to the next and one physical book to the next. Plus part of why I am a book polygamist is so I always have something to read. I have an e-book I can read when I'm commuting, a physical book I can read read over the weekend, and an audiobook I can listen to when I working, cleaning, and driving.

3.) It Keeps Things Fresh
Reading multiple books makes it so I don't really get sick of a book. Before I started blogging I would typically read one book at once and sometimes that would drag. I personally like being able to switch things up and not put all my eggs in one basket. I wouldn't particularly call myself a mood reader but I do think I have book ADD. I just personally can't focus on one book at a time. It honestly slows me down because I tend to get sick of a book sooner if I am devoting all my attention to it. Plus...

4.) It Helps Avoid Book Hangovers
Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner had a post recently about "the sacrificial lamb book" and I realized I don't really do that. I just start something else right away to avoid fixating on the previous book. Reading multiple books at a time helps with that because it's not very jarring to start something new and different because I'm already past the awkward exposition stuff and am slightly more invested in the new book. Plus I think that sometimes I also avoid reading slumps this way because there is always something exciting an interesting about one of the books I am reading at the time. But then again if all the books aren't working all of this goes out the window.

But only time will tell if I read more books when I subscribe to book polygamy or book monogamy. I will say that personally I've decided I like it better when I am reading more books than just one. I am currently only reading one book and I'm not liking it as much this time around. I feel like I'm struggling to finish it in time to review it and finish the two other books I planned to read this month.

How about you? Do you prefer to read one book at a time or do you like to read more than one book? Are you a serial monogamist or do you prefer book polygamy. Leave me a comment on your thoughts on reading multiple books. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. Haha! Okay, so I'll admit I wasn't sure what to expect with that title. This is much more tame than what I thought you might talk about. I don't normally read two hard copy books at once, but I'm always listening to one while I'm reading another. I agree that it definitely keeps things fresh!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

    1. Haha, nope this is a PG conversation! It does keep things fresh. I don't really like reading multiple physical books at a time anymore but I used to do that a lot. That definitely slows my reading down! But yes, I do like listening to one and having an e-book.

  2. I agree with Tracy, I wasn't sure what to expect with the title of the post, but it definitely made me what to read what you had to say. I've been known to read two books and two e-books at the same time, depending on my mood. Lately however, I've been more likely to stick to one or two e-books and no regular books unless they consisted of books related to my degree I'm working on. I think that keeping things fresh is a good way to keep things exciting, especially if you read a lot. I love to read, I just currently am lacking in the time to do so. I read more on my commute to work and less at home because of the amount I have to read for school. Awesome post!

    1. What did you guys think I was talking about? Just curious. I'm glad I intrigued you to read the post.

      I understand about limiting yourself unless it's books for your degree. In college I stopped reading multiple books. It was hard enough to find time to read for pleasure. I'm glad you can find even a little time!

  3. Your right!! It is impossible to read more than one book at a time. I list like the next 3-4 on goodreads but only am really reading one otherwise i mix up my story lines and its a big ol mess. Also... your GIFFAGE!!!!

    1. Haha, yeah I sometimes get confused if the books are really similar but usually I can keep them straight. I am typically reading all the books I list on goodreads. I may put it down for a day or two but usually a read a bit of it every day.

  4. I love the gifs! I am a multiple book reader myself (and I also have book mutilation tendencies, myself) I most commonly have one ARC or review book going, a me book, and what I call a slow read: usually an involved Adult Fiction that I can only take in short sessions. You are right, sometimes we need comparisons for dnfs. I have been struggling not to dnf Talon because a blogger told me it gets good in the second half. Well, after reading the wonderful ARC I am finishing up tonight (hopefully), the first thing I am going to do is dnf Talon. No matter how good the book gets in the backhalf, readers should not have to suffer through 50% of the book being one or two stars. All I can think about is all the fabulous books that don't get read because a dud took up that time.

    1. Glad to know I'm not the only book mutilator! That's how I am too with one review book and one "me book." Plus I have an audiobook. I like how you have a slow read though. I tend to just put those in the mix and then get frustrated that it's taking longer. I should try that next time. And I am so on the same page with DNFs, I feel bad if it's a review book but I know i'll just end up giving it a bad review. Better to let it fly than struggle through.